News / Asia

Hundreds Turn Out to Support Same-Sex Marriage in Vietnam

Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
Marianne Brown
Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Hanoi Sunday morning to watch a staged wedding ceremony between two same-sex couples ahead of a planned parliamentary debate on the topic next month.

Under the heat of an autumn morning in Hanoi, two same-sex couples dressed as brides and grooms took part in wedding ceremonies in front of around 300 people waving rainbow flags and holding colored balloons.

The couples exchanged rings and threw bouquets, much to the crowd’s delight. One of the brides, Linh, gave a short speech.

She said she was very happy to be able to take part in a wedding with the woman she loves.

The event was part of the “Toi Dong Y” festival, which translates as “I do,” or “I agree”, organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups across the country. In two weeks over 52,000 people have “liked” a Facebook page set up for the event.

One participant, 18-year-old Truong Duc Anh, said same-sex marriage is an important topic for Vietnam.

He said he believes love does not have a wrong or a right side and the most important thing is that society treats people equally when it comes to love.

The festival is being held ahead of a planned debate on revisions to the Marriage and Family Law at the National Assembly on November 5.

The draft does not include the legalization of same-sex marriage, but removes the article banning them in the current law and includes provisions for same-sex couples who live together.

One of the organizers - Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) - said he believes same-sex marriage will be legalized eventually.

"I believe in people and I think that when everybody speaks out, everyone has to listen whoever you are. So that’s why we do it this way. We mobilize public opinion, LGBT, students, young people so when people speak their opinion, politicians will have to listen," Binh said. "And I believe that politicians are also human beings. They need time to understand."

Attitudes towards the LGBT community have changed greatly over the last few years in Vietnam, where belief in traditional patriarchal family values remains the norm. Vietnam's LGBT community has grown more confident in its activism, even conducting training workshops for local journalists to improve their representation of gay people in local media.

Last year, hundreds of people cycled through the center of Hanoi in August for the country’s first Gay Pride parade. An Internet sitcom (situation comedy) called “My Gay Best Friends” went viral, attracting over 1.5 million viewers, and a publisher released the country’s first biography of a transgender person.

"I think a lot of change has taken place already...Before people thought it was sensitive so they didn’t want to talk about this. But now people are willing to talk about this. Many people support and many people oppose but at least the social debate takes place. We believe that’s necessary for social change," stated Binh.

Binh said he thinks legalizing same-sex marriage would give the country a big boost in terms of Vietnam’s commitment to international human rights standards. The country has received growing criticism in recent years for restrictions on freedom of speech and the increasing numbers of political bloggers receiving jail terms.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid